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Hawaiian Electric has partnered with smart grid technology firm Varentec to modernise its substations and expand its portfolio of distributed renewable energy resources.

Hawaiian Electric is deploying Varentec's 100 Edge of Network Grid Optimisation (ENGO) devices and Grid Edge Management System (GEMS) platform at three O'ahu substations with high penetrations of solar PV.

The project aims to minimise voltage fluctuations and allow for additional rooftop solar capacity.

Elemental Excelerator is co-funding the programme.

The project follows Hawaiian Electric successfully piloting Varentic's ENGO devices since August 2016. The trial was conducted in Kailua, O'ahu.

The utility will use ENGO devices to sense and regulate the distribution voltage, and the GEMS platform for data analytics. Varentec claims its solution will reduce energy demand during peak periods by 5%.

The project is expected to help improve customer services for consumers in KahukuWaimanalo, and Mānoa neighbourhoods. The initiative is part of efforts by Hawaiian Electric to modernise its grid network.

Colton Ching, Hawaiian Electric Companies senior vice president of planning and technology, commented: "Our first pilot project with Varentec let us test cutting-edge technology to open up capacity for rooftop solar on two PV-saturated circuits and also minimize the need for costly upgrades

"We're excited to expand our pilot into other service areas and learn more about these new technologies as we modernize our electric grid and work toward meeting our state's clean energy goals."

Guillaume Dufosse, CEO at Varentec, added: "We are very proud that our technology is helping Hawaiian Electric in its 100% RPS objectives by 2045. Varentec's solution helps the increase of residential PV rooftop into the grid while maintaining a high standard in power quality to Hawaiian Electric customers and meeting Hawaiʻi PUC mandates..."

Hawaii has set a target of generating 100% of its energy from renewable energy resources by 2045. In 2016, Hawaiian Electric generated 26% of its energy from clean sources.